Photo project helps show need for adoptions in Kansas
By KALEY CONNER
When walking through The Mall at Hays this month, one can't help but notice the many photos of smiling children. Those children have two things in common -- they all live in Kansas, and they all need a home.
For the past eight years, the Kansas Children's Service League has set up the photo gallery in Hays and throughout the state. The goal is to raise awareness about the number of Kansas children waiting for adoptive families, said Corey Lada, community relations coordinator.
"It's really a good way to obviously put a face to it," Lada said. "We have professional photographers throughout the state who donate time and resources .... and they take their time to really capture the child's personality.
"That's what gets people's attention. They realize this child is just a normal child."
At any given time, it's estimated 900 children in Kansas are awaiting adoption. Of those children, 400 do not have an identified resource or a family in the process of adopting.
The children pictured in the Klicks for Kids Heart Gallery are included in the 400, Lada said, noting there are children awaiting adoption in nearly every Kansas community.
"These kids are in great foster homes and foster families, but they need to have the permanency of a forever family," he said.
The photo gallery has proven effective. Many people who see the exhibit call KCSL for more information, and some eventually adopt a child, he said.
The exhibit, which also includes information about each child pictured, will be on display until June 6. The annual display always draws attention, said Anne Erbert, property manager of The Mall.
"That's why they choose to come back. They have gotten a really good response every time they do come to The Mall, which is great," Erbert said.
One of the most commonly asked questions is about the cost of adopting a child out of foster care. Many assume the cost will be high, but that is not necessarily true, Lada said.
"One thing that's different about this type of adoption from foster care is that it costs little to nothing, as opposed to other types of adoption like infant adoption," he said.
Those wanting more information about adopting a Kansas child can call (877) 457-5430 or visit www.kcsl.org.